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Procedure : 2000/2312(INI)
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Document selected : A5-0275/2001

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Thursday, 20 September 2001 - Brussels
Equal pay for work of equal value

European Parliament resolution on equal pay for work of equal value (2000/2312(INI))

The European Parliament,

-  having regard to Articles 2, 3(2) and 141(1) and (3) of the EC Treaty,

-  having regard to Articles 21(1) and 23 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union,

-  having regard to Articles 2 and 23 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 10 December 1948,

-  having regard to the Equal Remuneration Convention 1951 (Convention No 100) and Recommendation No 90 of the ILO,

-  having regard to Article 11(1d) of the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) of 18 December 1979,

-  having regard to Section V of the Social Policy Agenda endorsed by the European Council of Nice of 7, 8 and 9 December 2000,

-  having regard to the conclusions of the Presidency in respect of the Informal Meeting of Ministers for Gender Equality and Social Security at Norrköping on 21-23 January 2001,

-  having regard to Council Directive 75/117/EEC of 10 February 1975 on the approximation of the laws of the Member States relating to the application of the principle of equal pay for men and women(1) ,

-  having regard to the Council Decision 2001/51/EC of 20 December 2000 establishing a Programme relating to the Community framework strategy on gender equality (2001-2005)(2) ,

-  having regard to its resolution of 21 September 1995 on the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing: Equality, Development and Peace(3) ,

-  having regard to its resolution of 13 February 1996 on the Memorandum on equal pay for work of equal value(4) ,

-  having regard to its resolution of 12 June 1997 on the Commission communication - A code of practice on the implementation of equal pay for work of equal value for women and men (COM(1996) 336 - C4-0460/1996 )(5) ,

-  having regard to its resolution of 16 September 1997 on the Annual Report from the Commission: Equal opportunities for women and men in the European Union 1996 (COM(1996) 650 - C4-0084/1997 )(6) ,

-  having regard to its resolution of 15 November 2000 on the proposal for a Council decision on the Programme relating to the Community framework strategy on gender equality (COM(2000) 335 - C5-0386/2000 - 2000/0143(CNS) )(7) ,

-  having regard to its resolution of 18 May 2000 on the follow-up to the Beijing Action Platform (2000/2020(INI))(8) ,

-  having regard to Rule 163 of its Rules of Procedure,

-  having regard to the report of the Committee on Women's Rights and Equal Opportunities and the opinion of the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs (A5-0275/2001 ),

A.  whereas the wage gap between women and men in the EU is 28% on average and, after taking account of structural differences in relation to men and women on the labour market, including age, training, occupation and career pattern, women's pay is still 15% lower, on average, than that of men,

B.  whereas this wage gap of 15% on average can only be explained by value discrimination mechanisms, which is unacceptable,

C.  whereas legislation concerning equal pay for work of equal value has been laid down at both European and national level, which the two sides of industry are largely responsible for implementing; whereas, however, in many cases, the law has made only a partial contribution to equal treatment in terms of pay for female and male workers,

D.  whereas, in particular, the undervaluing of characteristics associated with women in the wage formation process leads to direct discrimination, on the one hand, in cases of unequal pay for equal work, and to value discrimination, on the other, in cases of unequal pay for work of equal value,

E.  whereas statistical data available at European level on pay differentials between men and women is incomplete and not up to date, and whereas no account is taken in this connection of recent trends in the labour market, such as the emergence of new sectors, atypical work and career breaks,

F.  whereas indicators are necessary in connection with the collection of statistics as they allow the factors determining pay differentials between men and women to be weighed up,

G.  whereas it is necessary to gain an understanding of the causes of, and possible remedies for, the wage gap in order to enable an effective policy to be developed,

H.  whereas every wage formation system is based on a scale of values according a hierarchical position to tasks following an assessment of the substantial requirements of the job; whereas, however, this process is not carried out on the basis of standard systems and procedures due, inter alia, to a lack of knowledge, experience and willingness to meet the cost thereof,

I.  whereas value-rating of jobs is a method of placing tasks within a work organisation in order of importance, and whereas, to that end, it is the job that must be assesed and not the person performing it,

J.  whereas no method of wage formation can ever be completely objective, as it involves a complex process of assigning values based on a policy process of selecting, defining and weighing the criteria used,

K.  whereas, however, it is possible to build safeguards into the system to assist transparency and gender-neutrality, and whereas an analytical job evaluation procedure provides the best guarantee in this respect,

L.  whereas the wage gap can only be narrowed by means of a twin-track policy involving, on the one hand, improving the position of women on the labour market and, on the other, eliminating discrimination in connection with wage formation,

M.  whereas synergism between actors and methods is needed in order to close the wage gap, and whereas policy measures must be further developed which take account of structural differences in relation to men and women on the labour market and which make it easier to reconcile work and family commitments,

N.  whereas all work must be accorded the value which it merits, and whereas the employment segregation of men and women often results in lower wages in female-dominated sectors than in male-dominated sectors and in less being paid for women's jobs than for men's jobs; whereas this is completely illegitimate, and female-dominated sectors and women's jobs need to be upgraded in order to narrow pay differentials between men and women,

O.  whereas collective bargaining between management and labour is the main basis for wage formation and whereas the two sides of industry have an important role to play in closing the wage gap,

P.  whereas, regrettably, too low a priority is accorded to the problem of the wage gap by those negotiating pay, and whereas the latter are often too concerned about the cost of gender-neutral-orientated reform of the wage formation process,

Q.  whereas women are very under-represented in the decision-making bodies of the two sides of industry, creating a situation in which women are not sufficiently well-grounded in gender-neutral job evaluation and men are not sufficiently aware of the problem,

1.  Acknowledges the efforts made by the Commission during the past decade to achieve equal pay for men and women, but notes that, despite all the initiatives adopted, the wage gap remains and is not shrinking significantly; concludes, therefore, that efforts need to be stepped up both at European and national level;

2.  Considers that the target set at the Lisbon European Council of achieving 60% of women active on the labour market by the year 2010 will not contribute to equal opportunities between women and men if the majority of those women are in low-paid, under-valued employment; stresses the importance of all types of training at every level as an essential instrument for achieving equality;

3.  Welcomes the setting up by the Commission of a group of experts with a view to improving statistical data collection; points out, however, that these data must be broken down by gender and sector, including those sectors such as the public sector and most forms of atypical work where women predominate and on which insufficient figures are available; points out that it is not enough simply to use descriptive indicators, and calls for interpretative indicators also to be developed and applied, such as for example the impact on wages of the combination of work and family life;

4.  Supports the Belgian Presidency's initiative for giving priority, on the basis of the follow-up to the Beijing action programme, to equal pay for men and women;

5.  Urges that existing data and research be supplemented, particularly with regard to the causes of, and remedies for, the persistent wage gap between men and women in the EU, and desires that a study also be carried out concerning all the factors influencing wages and the role played in this connection by wage formation mechanisms;

6.  Calls for the feasibility study on the setting up of a European Gender Institute to examine the role which this monitoring centre might play both in the collection of statistical data and in carrying out research into the causes of, and remedies for, pay differentials between men and women;

7.  Requests the Commission to examine how far the Member States have succeeded in:

forming an accurate, complete picture of the pay differentials existing between women and men;
incorporating gender-neutral job rating systems into their national legislation;
developing awareness-raising campaigns on equal pay for work of equal value;
mobilising the two sides of industry to implement gender-neutral job evaluation and to make the elimination of pay differentials between men and women one of their priorities;
themselves providing a model in the public sector and eliminating wage discrimination and differentials between men and women;

8.  Calls on the Member States to further step up their efforts in all of these areas and to ensure that measures adopted are actually complied with: urges them, in this connection, to develop and exchange good practice with a view to closing the wage gap, and to draw up 'equal pay' plans under their National Action Plans for Employment and present an annual report on progress made with regard to equal pay;

9.  Considers that the gender pay gap is a core priority for adjustment in response to the conclusions of the Stockholm European Council and welcomes the proposal of the Advisory Committee on Equal Opportunities to include in the Employment Guidelines for 2002 the establishment of targets with timescales to reduce the gender pay gap; calls on the Commission, within the framework of the European employment strategy, in connection with the employment guidelines, to continue to devote itself to specific measures for combating the wage gap by introducing precise quantitative and timescale objectives; requests it, in monitoring National Action Plans for Employment, to draw up actual progress reports concerning equal pay;

10.  Urges the Member States to facilitate training and access to jobs under optimum conditions, in particular by non-sexist vocational guidance in schools, and to eliminate current labour market segregation as well as to develop measures to narrow structural differences relating to men and women on the labour market and to enable both men and women to combine work and family commitments and to fulfil caring duties;

11.  Welcomes the Commission's plan to launch a Europe-wide campaign on equal pay in 2002 and urges the Commission to bring forward, in conjunction with this campaign, a proposal for revision and updating of Directive 75/117/EEC , paying sufficient attention to the issue of job classification and inserting a number of rules and criteria in an annex in order to ensure an objective gender-neutral evaluation system in accordance with a standard form as a means of narrowing the gender pay gap; asks the Commission in this connection to take account of the need for consistency with the provisions of the directives based on Article 13 of the Treaty, (Directives 2000/43/EC and 2000/78/EC) and of the draft amending Directive 76/207/EEC ; urges the Commission to consider also what other type of measures or schemes might be introduced and by what methods for this purpose, including encouragement of the involvement of the social partners;

12.  Calls on the two sides of industry finally to place the problem of unequal pay for men and women on their agenda and, on their own initiative, to take steps to help narrow the wage gap and the pay inequalities inherent in atypical work and career breaks; urges the social partners to draw specific attention in this strategy to the existence of female ghettos in certain low-paid jobs and to the obstacles which women encounter to entering top positions, known as "the glass ceiling";

13.  Calls on Member States to encourage individual employers to draw up annual equality reports containing statistics on proportions of women and men at different levels of the organisation, on time differentials in relation to promotion and on pay differentials for work of equal value, and on any measures undertaken to improve equal treatment at the workplace;

14.  Calls on the two sides of industry to provide clear information concerning pay differentials between men and women and to ensure transparency with regard to the value scales used in the wage formation process, in order to enable such information to be used to develop a policy based on a gradual approach in which the emphasis is on specific targets; calls on the two sides of industry to implement analytical job rating systems;

15.  Calls on the Commission and the two sides of industry to formulate an overall strategy for bridging the gender pay gap; considers that, in addition to the review of job evaluation and classification systems, measures are also necessary regarding labour market organisation in general, new forms of employment including the increase in atypical forms of employment, the definition of 'pay' and the impact of the organisation of work on women's pay structures; asks the Commission to investigate best practices in the Member States and on this basis propose supporting strategies to bridge the pay gap;

16.  Calls on the two sides of industry to include more women in wage negotiations as well as in their decision-making bodies, and requests that they provide all employees with training, including instruction and practice, relating to gender-neutral job evaluation systems and wage formation mechanisms;

17.  Calls on the Member States cited in point 5 of the Explanatory Statement of the report of its competent committee as being at or near the bottom of the list of European Union countries in terms of equal pay for men and women for work of equal value to take particular note of this resolution and take urgent measures to improve their respective positions;

18.  Urges the candidate countries to develop measures to narrow pay differentials between men and women;

19.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the governments and parliaments of the Member States, the governments of the candidate countries and the two sides of industry.

(1) OJ L 45, 19.2.1975, p. 19.
(2) OJ L 17, 19.1.2001, p. 22.
(3) OJ C 269, 16.10.1995, p. 146.
(4) OJ C 65, 4.3.1996, p. 43.
(5) OJ C 200, 30.6.1997, p. 193.
(6) OJ C 304, 6.10.1997, p. 45.
(7) OJ C 223, 8.8.2001, p. 149.
(8) OJ C 59, 23.2.2001, p. 258.

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